Protests by opposition parties, arrests of politicians, and minor traffic jams. All this happened when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the city, though only for five hours, on Saturday.
In fact, as a preventive measure, police had picked up some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the morning itself.
BSP workers holding protest before the arrival of Prime minister Manmohan Singh at outside the police station in sector 39, Chandigarh on Saturday. HT Photo
The traffic at the Sector-26 Timber Market was disrupted for sometime at 10 am, as senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan along with about 130 supporters gathered to hold a protest. They were immediately rounded up and taken to the Sector-26 police station in CTU buses, and booked under Section 107/51 of the CrPC.
Former BJP councillor Anil Dubey and party leaders Rambir Bhatti and Harishankar Mishra were the BJP leaders rounded by the police from their houses.
Dhawan, condemning the police action to round up leaders from their houses, said it was against the principles of democracy. “Nobody can be stopped from a peaceful protest,” he said. “Leaders were rounded and taken to police stations in Sectors 26, 34, 39, and Hallomajra, which was uncalled for.”
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party councillor Jannat Jahan and her husband, Hafiz Anwar Ul Haq, claimed that they were picked up from their Sector-35 house and taken to the Sector-39 police station. Jannat Jahan said, "I don't know why they rounded us up from our house at 8 am and let us go at 2.30pm. We are no criminals and, being the citizens of this country, it is our right to protest."
Following the detention of Jannat Jahan, BSP supporters gathered outside the Sector-39 police station and shouted slogans.
Jahan said they had planned to protest and show black flags to the Prime Minister at the Tribune Chowk to protest against the recent hike of petrol prices.
PM's visit a flop show: Satya Pal Jain
Chandigarh: BJP leader and former MP Satya Pal Jain has condemned the police for detaining party workers and leaders, who staged protests or had called for protests during the Prime Minister's visit to the city, on Saturday.
Jain, the national chairman of the BJP's committee on legal affairs, described the PM's visit as a 'flop show', saying that nothing came of it, even though the police had made all-out efforts to ensure there were no disruptions.
“The residents did not even care about his visit. Chairs at the venue were empty and there was no response by the people,” he said. Jain also visited police stations in Sectors 26, 34 and 39, and Industrial Area and Mauli Jagran, and met detained workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
Jain said that holding a peaceful demonstration even against the Prime Minister was the constitutional right of every Indian citizen. “A right that was suppressed today by the lathi of the police, the Congress-led Central government, and Chandigarh administration,” he said.
Jain demanded an inquiry into what he described as “harassment caused to citizens and the unnecessary expenditure incurred on the Prime Minister's visit”.